Spread Your Wings And Fly

Spread Your Wings And Fly
Spread your wings and fly

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

V - Vignette lives

I have had the incredible opportunity to participate in Patty Wysong's A2Z Take 2 writing challenge these past months. I hope you will check out the other writers as well, simply click on the icon on my sidebar.

I am a self taught, fair to middling artist. I dreamed of, and finally succeeded in learning how to paint sceneries the way the late, Bob Ross, did. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent glued to the television watching this kind, gentle man create mountains, trees, waterfalls, incredible sunsets, shimmering lakes and billowing clouds, all with tools  which looked like something you would paint and spackle a house with . I however cannot complete a painting in an hour like this sweet man, mine take three to four days – depending on how many mistakes I make.

One of my favorite paintings was a winter vignette scene. The entire painting was done in varying shades of blues and soft whites, creating a winter wonderland, complete with a rustic shed, partially frozen pond, and lacy ice tipped trees. What I loved most about this painting was how the scene flowed from center into soft, diffused edges, creating a lovely oval. The diffused edges drew the attention into the center of the painting. The snow, water, rocks and trees came into focus and jumped off the canvas, while the edges of the painting faded, causing an ethereal effect.
Bob Ross' vignette, I gave mine away

 As I began thinking about this form of painting, it brought to mind our lives. We often want people to see clearly the positive aspects of our life. Our accomplishments, our “perfect” families, our lofty goals, our faith. But the less than perfect parts of our lives, those things that do not bring us pride, our mistakes, our “imperfect” families, our secrets, our imperfections, we want to fade into the background. We want them shrouded behind a lovely gauzy veil casting them into an ethereal haze while drawing the positive to the foreground. Our life becomes a vignette.

In some sad cases, with a person with low self-esteem, or a person quick to point fingers, the vignette becomes reversed. All the negatives, all the mistakes, all the imperfections and secrets become central. All attention is on them. While the positives are pushed into the diffused back ground, barely visible even to the person who accomplished them. 

 Our life is not a vignette. Either all good or all negative with the rest hidden behind a delicate haze. Oh, we would love to have a life filled with good times and all positive, no negatives allowed. But just as in nature, one lends life to the other. A majestic mountain cannot achieve such beauty and grandeur without sharp cliffs, craggy rocks, and harsh conditions.
A shimmering lake also has a shoreline of mud and unruly vegetation. The most glorious sunset often lives after the worst storms. The bare branches of a dying tree add a dignified sense of age past to the vibrant green of trees full of youth.

 God’s creation, whether in nature or human lives, is a magnificent masterpiece. We need not shamefully force our negatives behind a shrouded veil, hiding them from sight. We are the person that we are, because of  the less than perfect aspects of our lives. Strength comes through adversity, compassion through pain, faith through times of questioning, and wisdom through mistakes.
In the form of painting, which I have done, the beauty is appreciated only by standing back and seeing the entire scene from a distance. When you stand nose to canvas, inspecting each and every brushstroke or highlight, the eyes see what appear to be flaws.The temptation arises to scrape hours of work from the canvas and start again. It’s usually after working on a particularly difficult painting, that I am able to step back, take my nose away from the canvas, sit peacefully with God, and appreciate the beauty. Flaws and all.
My full canvas painting - flaws and all

 God’s masterpieces are full canvas creations. 
Let’s live full canvas lives.


  1. Oh Sandy. This really, really spoke to me. Thank you!! We have a stack of Bob Ross painting books and my husband did a few paintings in a class using that method--love it!!

    Your application is so very appropriate. It's the big picture, flaws and all that create the beauty and the masterpieces.


  2. thank you Patti, I would love to see your husband's paintings. Bob Ross was such a gentle talented man and I love his painting style. I've been reminded lately that we are all God's masterpieces, flaws and all. "He don't make Junk" and we need to not focus on our flaws, but on the whole creation.